This story is part of a blog series for the launch of Ladies First, the Dingman Center’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.
By: Nina Silverstein
I began every year of my teaching tenure in Baltimore by asking my students what they wanted to be when they grew up. My kindergarten and first grade students were eager to announce that they were going to be a teacher or a police officer or a football player. A select few said they wanted to be doctors or firefighters. I noticed that when I called my students “Dr. Demetira” or “Police Officer Denard”, their interest and engagement in their schoolwork peaked. Additionally, when my school held a career day, I again saw the level of engagement in school peak. It was as if the students saw the possibilities of future endeavors appear before them and helped them realize why school was important to achieving that.
That was when the idea for 2B emerged. 2B is a mission-driven clothing company aimed at expanding children’s horizons and helping them to envision themselves as a variety of different occupations when they grow up. 2B seeks to help students learn about different careers by providing books and clothing centered around each occupation, which helps to provide reasoning for why school is an important factor to their future success. We aim to make the connection between hard work in school and future attainment of their dreams. In order to ensure that all children benefit from envisioning their dreams, 2B will be donated to under-resourced schools so that every child, regardless of background, has the same access to opportunity and the same ability to envision themselves as anything they want to be when they grow up.
Taking the first steps in this entrepreneurial journey has been exciting and difficult for me all at the same time. Defining myself as an entrepreneur has taken some time, but now that I envision myself as such, I have gotten much more comfortable speaking about my idea and calling myself a social entrepreneur. Taking my idea and translating it to reality has been the hardest part thus far, but by networking and talking with other entrepreneurs, I am actively working towards a prototype. I am really passionate about the ability of businesses to drive positive change and look forward to seeing how 2B can contribute to this cause.
Nina Silverstein is a second year full-time 2017 MBA Candidate. Prior to starting graduate school, she taught kindergarten and first grade in Baltimore, MD, via the Teach For America program. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and strongly believes in the power of consumer purchasing power to influence positive change.